About Us

- The first bilingual school in Florence -

It was 1996 when Canadian Island was born in Florence.

In 1996 CANADIAN ISLAND became a reality in Florence Italy. Founded by Maria Rocco and Lucia Mingarelli who together, combined their knowledge and backgrounds to create this captivating experience.

Canadian Island is the leading School in Tuscany that teaches English to children and young people. Maria and Lucia leave nothing to chance: attentive and highly specialized, they are present in the most varied situations because they personally supervise all activities. Always around you can find them while they teach in the classroom, at the Summer camps helping and supporting the children, at the Day Care for the little ones, or singing and playing with the older children during school trips.

Maria Rocco, an Italo - Canadian was born in Toronto and had always felt too Italian for the Canadians and too Canadian for the local Italians. It was in 1993 that she decided to follow her heart and start afresh in Florence Italy. With a significant academic background from the University of Toronto, Maria has a double degree in pedagogy and languages (French and Italian). She also has extensive experience in the field of ESL teaching (English as a second language).

In Canada the multicultural and multilingual tradition is still strong and French and English have always coexisted. With this is mind Maria was inspired to create the same tradition among the Italian and English allowing her to fulfill her much wanted balance between the two cultures. It is important that the English language is lived rather than studied, Maria likes to use activities that stimulate creativity among the children and young people.

“Live English” is the key feature of the method used at Canadian island being executed through various fun activities as the source of the learning.

Maria is the heart and soul of Canadian Island and wanting to spread her passion even further she created the summer camps that complement the experience she has to offer. Always being called tireless, Maria is empathic with the children, always on the move and wants to make sure each individual is receiving the best personalized experience, catering to their every need.


Welcome to Canadian Island

We are powered by our People and Values

At Canadian Island our teachers take pride in what they do, being led by inspired leaders who strongly believe that it is in the first years of a child’s life that individual self-esteem, skills and attitudes develop.

From inspiring leadership to

Instilling the purpose of that inspiration, our teachers love to educate in “harmony with life,” which derives from our Kindergarten program that we designed to meet the personal needs of each child, guaranteeing their own personal growth.

Our teachers are encouraged to make their own personal impact and be proactive with ideas and initiatives that will enhance their career. 

Working in a friendly, inclusive environment our teachers enjoy the caring community. Team Oriented work keeps creativity flowing to always ensure that the client receives the very best experience possible.

Our teachers at Canadian Island focus on motivating and supporting all students to grow into well balanced and rounded individuals. We foster a very client centric approach and are very proud of our modern pedagogical methods which foster curiosity, creativity, and independence.

Our teachers are professionally trained and developed to keep our curriculum to the industry leading standard it has always been recognized for.

Canadian Island very much welcomes work-life balance and understands the importance of catering to the individual needs of our staff for them to work at their very best. It is for this reason that we have teachers who have remained with us since the very beginning. 

Taking advantage of our competitive benefits, such as teachers using our day care for their own children while they work, or the opportunity to be flexible with their schedules, we want them to have peace of mind. It is key for productivity that security and tranquility is felt throughout to keep our culture vibrant and safe.

Teachers having worked at Canadian Island acquire a significant amount of experience and knowledge that stands them in very good stead for any future career moves. Our teachers know they are sought after for their resilient and creative ways that the students adore. They are constantly providing an unparalleled educational experience in our warm and nurturing environment.

- Play, learn, grow ... together! -

Our Purpose and Mission

We encourage development through modern pedagogical methods which foster curiosity, creativity, and independence. Our industry-leading inquiry based learning curriculum is provided by our impassioned staff in a variety of welcoming(or diverse) environments. 

Canadian Island is a vibrant, safe, and loving community where individuals come to be inspired and learn through art, music, and theater. Our teachers facilitate choices and become partners in learning experiences while they support our students and motivate them to grow into well-rounded individuals.


Resilient, creative, and independent students learn best from teachers they love. 

Inspiring students begins with offering them a home to express their deep sense of wonder. 

Equality, respect, and understanding lead to successful learning for students of any age. 

Unparalleled educational experiences begin in a warm and nurturing environment. 

People from different walks of life need a community to share skill sets and a language-rich setting to build deep and lasting relationships. 

- What a staff! -

Maria & Lucia

Lucia Mingarelli
Lucia Mingarelli
Maria Rocco
Maria Rocco